10 Ways to Stay Creative

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Staying “creative” all the time can sometimes get exhausting. If you aren’t careful you start to pull from the same memory bank and your work can begin to look the same. It is important for us as designers to keep our creativity bank full.

I have compiled a list of things that helps me stay in a creative mindset when everything in life gets to be too much.

< 1 > Pinterest 

This one is probably a given but it can’t not be on the top of my list.

 < 2 > Music (spice it up keep it fresh)

Explore new music to spur on the creativity. I always love to mix up my playlists while I am working.

 < 3 > Design Between Projects (during the dry moment) 

When we aren’t working on a project we think of that as a “break” but now is when you should explore new techniques and learn new things. Who knows you might be inspired and learn something that will help you in further projects plus it is always good to learn new skills in your craft.

 < 4 > Sketch/Draw/Paint

Even if it is just doodling you should always bring to life the ideas in your head. I don’t know about you but every now and then I have a random design pop in my head. I always keep a sketch book with me so I can sketch it out. This will help you keep that creative process and encourages your brain to continue thinking up amazing designs. You never know where a simple sketch might lead.

Draw and/or paint to keep your creative insides alive. There is a part of us that is engaged when we are drawing and painting. As your playing with mixing colors and forming shapes with graphite you keep that part of your brain working and creating.

< 5 > Don’t Overwork Yourself. 

This one is something that I am still working on. I am still working on finding a balance and learning to say no. It is an important thing to find a balance in order to keep the creative juices flowing. Creativity gets stifled when we are overwhelmed with too much on our plates.

< 6 > Eating Healthy/Staying Hydrated/Exercise 

There is nothing worse than getting dizzy or a headache while you are in the middle of a project and your on a timeline trying to get the final product to a client. Staying hydrated and eating healthy can help keep your mind open and all the synapses firing correctly.

We all know thanks to Elle Woods “Endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” Well endorphins also keep that creativity flowing. So lace up those kicks and hit your favorite cardio or weight training program. My favorites are running and zumba!

< 7 > Research/Bookstores

Sometimes just looking things up and learning spawns great ideas. I love to go to bookstores and browse through books (mainly the cover designs) and magazines. Bookstores are great for typography and layout inspiration as well.

< 8 > Travel 

Traveling opens our eyes to things outside of what we know in our own community. I am not saying you have to travel to exotic locations. Going to the next town over can be all you need to spark some creative ideas. Sometimes we have to shut the computer and go outside. So, let’s go explore!

< 9 > Do something fun/Be with the people you love  

Be sure to take breaks and do things for you. Whatever that might be. Hanging out with friends/family. Doing something you love to do. To keep creativity flowing we have to have things that make us happy. From that happiness comes the ability to think creatively.

< 10 > Remember to think Positive

Creativity is in our mind and keeping the mind healthy is one of the most important thing. Keep positive thoughts in mind. Remember you can do anything your mind can dream. If you can think it then you can make it! A friend has a great blog and free download of “Good Vibes” Positive words to think and confess. Read her blog here.

static.squarespacehttp://www.thirdstoryapartment.com/goodvibesblog/dailyaffirmations

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5 Tips to Help You Design for Yourself

blogtitle-designyourselfMaybe it’s because I know everything inside my mind. #nofilter

Trying to design for yourself and brand your own logo is much harder than designing for someone else. You would think it would be easy, who knows me better than me right? But that is the problem I really know me. All of me, all the things I like, which contradicts each other sometimes. When designing and branding for someone else I am able to see the traits that stick out. What makes them…..them. When I try to turn it around on me there is no filter to see just what stands out. Anyone else feel the same.

So let me share with you some tricks I used to help me design for myself.

<1> Do something.
So often we wait and wait until it is “right” before we actually do something. It is ok to change your mind and redo it later. Knowing that it is changeable in your mind before you start gives a sense of freedom to just do whatever comes and let it evolve. You have to start somewhere or you’ll never get anywhere. (that’s quotable…I probably heard/read that somewhere)

<2> People around you.
The ones best to be able to see what makes you stand out are those that are around you day to day. Ask the people around you how they would describe you. What they would say stands out when they think about you. Ask them “If you were to describe the type of person I am to a stranger what would you say?” Use the words they use to help you pinpoint the look and style that best represents you.

<3> Pinterest.
Look at the things you pin on boards that are just about you. (Not design or client boards because chances are they will be to varied) Look at it and ask yourself does this say “me”? If yes then think for a moment what about it says “you”. Is it the colors? The textures? Fonts? Layout? If you have someone in your life that you know would know you and be able to find images that display “who you are” you could have them pin images on a secret pin board to help you see what others see. I had my cousin pin any image she saw on Pinterest that made her think of me and it really helped me see (in the images) the common thread throughout the images.

<4> Adjectives
Again, ask the people around you to give you the adjectives that would best describe your personality. This is always a good one for me. I use this trick with clients because I find the adjectives really help me see a good picture of the look and feel a person is going for. Hearing the adjectives that people tell you might be just what you need to really put your finger on the look and feel that best suits you.

<5> The Process
Trust the design process. Go through the Design Process just like you would if you were creating a brand for someone else and take all of the above tips to help you guide through. Don’t overthink it. Just go for it.

Comment below and let me know your tips and tricks for designing for yourself? Have you ever tried designing for your own brand? How did you feel during the process? Let me know in the comments below.

Also comment with anything that you would like me to write about. If you have any specific questions about design or otherwise comment below and let me know  (that rhymed 🙂 hehe)

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My Office Wishlist

blogIMG-wishlist-officeI am currently moving into a new office and thinking through a redesign.
Moving into a new office can be overwhelming and exciting. I have compiled a wish list of a few things that I am dreaming of for my redesign for my new office. I started out with a color palette to help guide the redesign and then hit the Inspiration sites. Created a pin board for inspiration. I have shown a few of my favorite pieces that I am wanting for my office. I am loving the pastels lately and I always feel more inspired to be creative in a bright environment so I am opting for white walls. I love the contrast of the black and white with the pastels. The clean geometric pattern I think will create a nice clean environment for a work space.

What are your favorite pieces in your work space? Do you have anything in your office that you can’t work without?

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My Top 5 Inspiration Sites

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Inspiration is a key to an creative project. It is one of the first steps in completing a design project for me. Check out my blog on my creative process to see where my “inspiration” section fits in to the mix.

 

< 1 > Pinterest.com – does this really need to be said? The best source of inspiration. I will often times just look over my own boards and revisit some of my favorites that I have forgotten. Or I will go through the search tab for specific inspiration. This is good site also for just overall inspiration.Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 11.16.43 AM

 

< 2 > dribbble.com – This site is fantastic for specifically searching for design inspiration. Using the tags you can search through other designers work to see what the going trends are and spark some ideas. We need each other, collaboration is a great way to stay inspired and creative. Dribbble was a great invention, whoever came up with it did a great service for the design community.

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< 3 > siteinspire.com  –  I love browsing through this site when I come across a web design job. You can narrow your search to look for specific design styles. All of the websites for inspiration here are great and you are assured that you will have plenty of design inspirations.

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< 4 > designspiration.com – This site is a great site to scroll through for inspiration.  There are also categories to help narrow the search.

 

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< 5 > logofaves.com – Logo designs are a very important part of the whole branding process of a company. It can be overwhelming to try and find inspiration for logo designs. This is a great resource for those logo designing projects.

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< 6 > abduzeedo.com – This is a graphic design blog with great resources for inspirations as well as tutorials. This is a great site to check out.

 

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< 7 > smashingmagazine.com – This is also a great Design blog with a huge supply of resources.

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< 8 > theinspirationgrid.com – This website has a beautiful grid layout (hence the name) with large list of categories of inspiration.

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< 9 > Creativemarket.com – This site is great for inspiration. They also have weekly free downloads. Visit their Facebook page and they have extra Facebook exclusive free downloads.

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< 10 > google.com – This might be a strange addition to the list but I find it helpful when I am working on a specific project to use adjectives (usually the adjectives I ask my clients in their pre-project questionnaire). When working on something specific it is nice to type in keywords and see what comes up that might spawn some out of the box creative thinking.

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Kimberly Alana – Color Board

It is always amazing to work with clients that are friends and creative fun people that are creative out of the box thinkers. Working with Kimberly has been amazing.colorboard-kimAlana

Above is the mood inspiration board for her rebranding. She is an amazing talented musician and singer. She was looking to create a brand and identify for her music and called me and asked me to help her out and it has been such a pleasure! She is such a fun bubbly person full of energy and creative thinking. She also has this amazing girly rocker side to her. My goal was to blend the two bringing the edgy rock to the fun girly side. I am please with the overall product.
Stay tuned for her logo designs as well as her full branding page.
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Office Design Inspiration

Designing for a new office can be fun and also overwhelming there are so many things that you can choose from. So many styles, color palettes, ideas, and designs. Starting with Pinterest and looking at inspiration my “Office Inspiration Board” quickly filled up with ideas some were similar and some were completely different then the others. I began to get confused so I decided to create a mood board just like I do for my clients. It really helped to see the overall look that I was wanting for my office.
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Something I have noticed, attempting to redesign and decorate your office while you are also continuing to work in it day by day can be challenging. IF you are able to quit working until the redesign is done, that would be the best option. But it has definitely strengthened my patience and sharpening my focus on the tasks. I can tell that your environment has an effect on your work and so it is important to make your surroundings yours. If you don’t have an office and you are in a work environment with cubicles or small workspaces. Find a way to add a little something that adds your personality to it.

I think something important to think about while designing for your office is that this is a place that you are meant to work in. That makes the design process much different than a bedroom or a living space. Especially for a creative career you have to think of what designs, color schemes, patterns, and layout would continually inspire you to be creative and productive.

What are items that you use to personalize your workspace? Do you have any tips you have found that help you when redesigning your office space? what do you find helps you to be more productive?

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My Current : IPhone Favorites

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How many times have you said, “There’s an app for that.” I have to say that was a genius marketing plan for apple. I love downloading new apps I hear about and trying them out. How many of you also dissect the design of each app, the user friendliness of it and the flow and functionalities?
Maybe that is the nerdy graphic designer in me. But I love to critique each app and see how things could have been designed better or what parts of the design I like the most. It takes me back to art school with the weekly project critiques. Can I get a witness? Haha.

I wanted to share with you the top 5 apps I’m currently obsessing ly critiquing and enjoying the use of. These apps are in no particular category. They are somewhat random. Some apps I use for productivity and some are for fun.

1. Evernote

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I know what your thinking! Yeah your a little late to the party. I know, but I’m fashionably late right? Anyways. I will probably stay obsessed with this app. There are a lot of great qualities with this app for productivity in whatever field your in. There are great customizations to it. Customizable apps are my favorite because you can’t just assume everyone is going to want to set up their lists and notes the same way. What is great about Evernote is you can have notes and list combined and even add some reminders and alerts. It is great for creative people to have when an idea pops in your head and the computer is no where near you and you forgot pen and paper. Even writers who should practice writing everyday. Writers can use the notebook features to keep creative stories or outlines clear. I recommend this for anyone in the creative world needing to keep ideas from being lost in the land of the forgotten.

2. Heads Up

unnamedThis game I am sure is not new to some of you. If you watch Ellen’s show you might have seen her play this game with the celeb’s. I saw her play this game with Joseph Gordon-Levitt where they have to do different accents and I immediately downloaded it. My family and I have had so much fun with this game. We are big fans of catchphrase and games like charades so this app is a perfect blend of both. One person holds the phone to their head and then the other people on the team try to act out or say clues to get that person to guess the word on the screen. It even records the people doing charades and acting goofy so that you can watch it back or send the video to someone like the Ellen show. It’s a great app for groups or those awkward dinner parties. Whip it out and you have an instant fun time.

3. Entrepreneur Daily

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On a more serious/business note this app is the app for www.entrepreneur.com this place is a great resource for all business minded people. Anyone in management or higher leadership. I love clicking on there to see the latest articles and read new perspectives on leadership, business, or news on the latest start ups. This might not be up everyone’s alley but if you are interested in becoming more well rounded in business and keeping your brain sharp I would suggest this app as a good recouce. I have been enjoying it as of late.

4. Mindly

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Taking it a little more practical but still in the business mindset, the Mindly app is amazing. I just happened upon this app one day and it has helped me out so much on keeping projects oraganized in my brain. The planning process is probably one of the most important parts and this is an app that is just for that. It is basically a mind mapping app. But it’s the best one I have tried. I have tried a few because I find mind mapping to be helpful when dealing with complicated projects or even planning out a larger website. This is a great app for that as well. You can have categories within more categories and also attach notes or images with in them. What is also awesome is it looks great! I’m always about 1. User friendliness and 2. Beuatiful aesthetics. There are pro features if you enjoy using the app and want to continue mind mapping projects. Check it out and map out that mind.

5. Elevate

Elevate-is-an-app-that-has-a-variety-of-games-and-exercises-designed-to-improve-a-variety-of-brain-functions.

Speaking of the mind, Elevate is a fun mind game app. My brother introduced me to this app and I have to say I do feel a tad but smarter after playing it for a few weeks. This app is a game designed to sharpen your mind. So you can have fun and get smarter at the same time. It is rewarding at the end knowing you are having fun and exercising your brain. It will only let you play 3 games per day unless you buy the pro version. I have stuck with the 3 games and I use it as mind excercises each day. Check it out if your feeling like your mind needs to get in shape. Haha

I hope you liked the apps that I have been obsessing over. Comment below and let me know the apps that you have been loving lately.

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Winter – Free Desktop Wallpaper

winterdesktopscene I am not one for the cold winter months, but I do love the Holidays and the beauty that the blanket of the white snow creates. We have had a lot of snow the last few winters. I have noticed how when the snow covers the ground it hides all of the junk and dead limbs and instantly creates a beautiful scene.
My ideal snow day would definitely be coffee bundled up close to the fire with a good movie. (who wouldn’t right?)
I have created some scenes for your computers desktop inspired by the beauty of snow.wintertreewallpaper snowflakewallpaper
Click here to download : Evergreen Snow Scene Wallpaper
Click here to download: Snowflake Winter Scene
Click here to download: Winter Friends Snow Scene
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